Fifty-six percent of likely voters in the Nov. 3 election say they will approve a ballot referendum that would give the state the power to issue $400 million in bonds to preserve farmland, open space and historic sites and buy flood-prone land, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll released Wednesday.
Just 31 percent say they disapprove of the bond issue and 13 percent say they are not sure.
The bond issue gains approval by a similar margin, 57 percent to 32 percent among just those who say they always vote on bond issues.Initially, the Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine considered asking voters to approve a $600 million bond issue but the amount was reduced amid concerns that voters might not be in the mood to support the proposal during the economic recession. The state government presently faces debt of over $32 million, much of it from earlier bond issues.
About 24 percent of voters say they usually just skip bond questions. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they always vote on bond questions, 69 percent to 59 percent, and voters over 60 are far more likely than voters under 30 to say they always vote on the ballot questions by 72 percent to 33 percent.
The poll also found more than 22 percent of likely voters say they've received an application at home for a mail-in ballot, but only 4 percent of those – and less than one percent of all voters – have mailed in the application. Eighty-nine percent of those who confirmed they've received an application for a mail-in ballot say they'll pass on the application process and go right to the voting both on Election Day.
In all, just 8 percent of voters say they're somewhat or very likely to vote by mail. Ten percent say they're not very likely, and 81 percent say they're not at all likely to bother with voting by mail.
"Voting by mail has become more and more popular in other states," said Peter Woolley, the poll's director, "but it seems its time has not yet come in the Garden State. Many people still see going to vote as a personal and communal ritual."
The poll of 667 likely voters statewide was conducted by telephone from last Wednesday through Monday and has a margin of error of plus or minus percentage points.